MPI proposes a draft decree on procurement bidding under CPTTP

The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) has summited to the Government a draft decree on amending Decree 95/2020/ND-CP providing guidelines on procurement bidding under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTTP).

According to the MPI, the draft decree will amend and supplement some articles of Decree No 95. It aims to guide State companies to execute bidding packages under the CPTTP agreement and EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

However, per the Government's Resolution No 190/NQ-CP on the provisional application of the UK-Việt Nam FTA (UKVFTA), Việt Nam agreed to temporarily apply the UKVFTA from January 1, 2021.

The agreement was negotiated based on the principle of inheriting commitments in the EVFTA with necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with the bilateral trade framework between Việt Nam and UK. By doing so, the draft decree will avoid amending Decree 95/2020/NĐ-CP many times.

The MPI has asked the Government to revise Decree No 95 as follows.

The first option aims to implement international treaties on bidding and the second option is to execute the bid for public procurement of goods under the CPTTP, EVFTA and UKVFTA.

To boost competitiveness in bidding, the draft decree has stipulated the implementation of bidding related to consultancy services, non-consultancy services and construction services.

In the draft decree, bidding packages specified in Appendix II of the Decree No 95 show State companies will decide to allow intra-regional contractors or contractors from member countries of CPTTP to attend only.

For bidding packages specified in Appendix III of Decree No 95, State companies can allow intra-regional contractors or contractors from member states of the EU and UK to bid.

Regarding the intra-regional procurement bidding for the supply of goods specified in (Appendix II), State companies will decide to allow intra-regional contractors to offer goods originated from member countries of the CPTTP, the UK and EU to attend or allow member countries of CPTTP to offer goods originated from these countries only.

For supply of goods specified in (Appendix III), State companies will decide to allow intra-regional contractors to offer goods originated from member states of the CPTTP, the EU and UK or only allow contractors from the EU and UK to offer goods originated from these countries.

Enhancing added value for rice industry

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has just approved a project on restructuring the Vietnam's rice industry until 2025 with a vision to 2030.

Accordingly, Vietnam will continue to restructure the rice industry in the direction of improving efficiency and sustainable development towards the objectives of fully meeting domestic consumption demand, being the core in ensuring national food security, and enhancing the efficiency of the rice value chain.

Under the project, Vietnam also expects to adapt to climate change and mitigate the impacts of climate change, make efficient use of natural resources and protect the ecological environment, and increase income for farmers and benefits for consumers, in addition to exporting high quality and high value rice.

The country also plans to keep its rice area at 3.6 to 3.7 million hectares by 2025, with rice production of 40 to 41 million tonnes per year.

The rice industry also aims at exporting 5 million tonnes of rice each year by 2025, including 40% fragrant rice, specialty rice and japonica rice, 20% sticky rice, 20% high quality rice, 15% medium and low-grade rice, and 5% products processed from rice. The percentage of branded rice exports is over 20%.

The country sets the target of exporting 4 million tonnes of rice by 2030, including 45% fragrant rice, specialty rice and japonica rice, 20% sticky rice, 15% high quality rice, 10% medium and low-grade rice, and 10% products processed from rice, with over 40% branded rice exports.

A notable aspect of the project is that the rice export volume has decreased gradually in each period, but the criteria for specialty rice, high quality rice, processed products from rice, and percentage of branded rice exports sees increases year by year.

This shows that the future direction of the rice industry is to reduce the area and output for export towards a focus on improving rice quality and selling prices.

This is the right target which is suitable to the current situation of rice production and export, particularly in the context that Vietnam has signed many free trade agreements (FTAs) with international partners, such as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

To make the best use of the advantages from FTAs, the rice industry has to constantly improve product quality to meet the increasingly strict requirements of importing countries.

Rice is a strategic commodity of our country, not only contributing to the economic development but also playing an important role in ensuring national food security. Therefore, promoting the restructuring of this industry is essential to better boost the achieved results while igniting untapped potential.

The solution for the coming time is to develop concentrated rice production areas with identified varieties and the links between production, consumption and export. It is also important to strictly control the production process, obey the limit of pesticide residue, and ensure traceability.

The rice industry also needs to apply advanced technology in terms of post-harvest preservation and processing to reduce losses, ensure uniform quality of rice products, and fully satisfy food hygiene and safety regulations.

Danang focuses on production and export to restore economy

Even as the tourism and services sectors continue to be impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak, manufacturing and export are expected to help the central city of Danang restore its economy, with several projects gearing up for acceleration.

Stealing the limelight is the Danang City Software Park No. 2 project (first phase), which will have an investment capital of more than VND1,300 billion after the investor pumps more than VND500 billion into the project.

This information was revealed in a report made by the Danang industrial and civil construction projects management board, the project’s investor, which was unveiled at a function held on February 19 at the project’s construction site in Danang City.

As planned, work on the project commenced on October 10, 2020, and it will be completed by August 31, 2022, inclusive of three main buildings ICT, ICT1 and ICT2.

However, Nguyen Huu Ninh, the board’s director, said part of the project will be accelerated and targeted to be completed at least eight months ahead of schedule, to meet demands from businesses.

Specifically, the Danang City Investment Promotion Agency had asked the project’s investor to consider requests by LG, one of the customers at the park, about putting the ICT1 block into operation soon. After a discussion, the investor agreed to hand over the site to the tenant on December 31, 2021, instead of August 2022.

In addition, a representative of the Danang Hi-tech Park said the supporting industry zone located at the park will be put into operation in June 30 this year, paving the way for potential investors to step in.

In addition to boosting projects in the information technology sector, Danang also expects the operational production projects of domestic and foreign investors to be the driving force to restore the city's economy as well as to contribute to exports.

Tokyo Keiki Precision Technology Co., Ltd. specializes in manufacturing hydraulic equipment components and products (solenoid valves and pumps) at the Danang Hi-tech Park. It targets to earn 678 million yen (almost US$6.5 million) in the fiscal year of 2021, up 10% against 2020.

According to Tokyo Keiki, after gaining sustainability from some overseas markets, including China, the company plans to make products for the Japanese market in the near future.

In the fiscal year of 2020, the company earned 618 million yen. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the company had a large number of inventories. However, everything began improving since December 2020.

Meanwhile, Thuan Phuoc Fisheries and Trading Joint Stock Company obtained total revenue in 2020 of VND2,315 billion, up 10% against 2020. Nguyen Thi Phi Anh, general director of Thuan Phuoc, said the company is constructing a new frozen seafood processing plant in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang with a capacity of 4,950 tons a year. The plant will be put into operation in the second quarter of 2021.

As production is being restored, the central city expects exports to accelerate.

Reportedly, in 2021, Danang Port JSC will see the throughput (mainly via its Tien Sa seaport) increase by 5% against 2020, while the profit growth will increase at least by 8% compared to 2020.

In 2020, the total volume of goods through ports in Danang reached 11.4 million tons. It earned a profit of VND260 billion.

Danang port regularly welcomes ships from 18 firms around the world.

HCMC: Development of industry, trade attaches with regional economy, innovation

Vice Chairwoman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City Phan Thi Thang chaired the meeting for the approval of the implementation plan for the year 2021 of the Department of Industry and Trade with the attendance of representatives of departments and industries of the city.

Reporting at the meeting, Mr. Bui Ta Hoang Vu, Director of the Department of Industry and Trade of HCMC, said that the industry and trade of the city would strive to meet the basic targets this year.

Specifically, the index of industrial production would increase by 5 percent, with four major industries surging from 6.7 percent upwards compared to last year. Total retail sales and service revenue in the city would exceed VND835.68 trillion, up 10 percent.

Export turnover through border gates across the country would reach US$48.19 billion, up 10 percent. Import turnover would hit $56.47 billion, up 11 percent compared to the estimate of 2020.

The city’s industry and trade would upgrade 100 percent of administrative procedures to level 4, supporting people and enterprises in settling administrative procedures, especially in the process of arranging administrative units at district and commune levels and establishing Thu Duc City under the HCMC.

To achieve the above targets, the department will synchronously carry out solutions to contribute to the general goal of industrial and trade development with a fair growth rate, supporting the recovery of economic growth in the city, at the same time, creating strong changes in economic restructuring towards services - industry - agriculture, in which the service sector's proportion in the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) will be maintained at above 60 percent.

It will also build and take some measures to develop the industry and trade that foresee the development trend, helping the city to maintain its role as an economic locomotive and the pioneer in innovation nationwide.

The development of the industry and trade will attach with the regional economy, the application of science, technology, innovation, and the in-depth development based on three foundations, comprising developing four key industries, supporting industries, and key industrial products and potential industrial products of the city. The department will develop e-commerce and focus on turning some advantageous products of the city into key export products in the coming time.

As for administrative reform, the department will take the enterprise as the center, and the satisfaction of the people, organizations, and enterprises as a measure of its effectiveness; promote the application of information technology in management and administration activities of the department this year, in which it will research and deploy digitization and paperless meetings.

Vice Chairwoman of HCMC People's Committee Phan Thi Thang highly appreciated the position and role of the city’s industry and trade in deploying and implementing key programs of the city, making an important contribution to the implementation of the "dual goals" of both preventing the Covid-19 pandemic and realizing the city's socio-economic development goals in 2020.

As for the plan for 2021, Ms. Phan Thi Thang agreed on the targets, operational directions, and groups of solutions of the Department of Industry and Trade.

The year 2021 is the first year to implement the city’s socio-economic development plan in the 2021-2025 period, and important projects approved by the municipal People's Committee, such as the development project of e-commerce in the city to 2025-2030, logistics development project to 2025-2030, export development project to 2025-2030, programs to support the development of key industrial products and potential industrial products, and continue to restructure the city in the 2021-2025 period.

Therefore, the work program needs to clearly state the contents of the work to implement the goals and tasks in 2021, clearly assign the responsibilities of each position and prove by actual results and completion time. There should be a strong breakthrough in the administrative sector to raise the level of people's satisfaction in the implementation process.

Regarding the recommendations of the industry and trade, Ms. Thang approved the policy and assigned the industry and trade to implement two concentrated promotions in 2021 so as to create a boost in attracting domestic and foreign tourists to visit and contribute to building HCMC into a major shopping center of the region and the country.

For recommendations related to administrative procedures, the city will prioritize helping enterprises to develop production and business. As for other recommendations, the HCMC People's Committee will organize working sessions to collect opinions of competent departments and give specific feedback to the department.

The municipal People's Committee will soon consider and assign personnel to strengthen the leadership apparatus to create conditions for the Department of Industry and Trade to focus on completing the assigned tasks.

RCEP offers opportunity to expand Vietnamese agricultural exports

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world’s largest trade pact, offers Vietnamese agricultural exporters an excellent opportunity to increase their participation in global value chains, experts said.

Le Duy Minh, chairman of the Viet Nam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association, said the RCEP provides the country’s farm produce with access to a larger market and opportunity to improve their competitiveness.

The trade deal brings together the 10 ASEAN member countries, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, which account for 29 per cent of the world’s GDP and have a population of 2.2 billion.

The trade pact promises to help increase Viet Nam’s exports since many of the other members have huge demand for its farm produce and processed foods.

Thanks to the harmonisation of rules of origin between the members, Viet Nam’s exports could meet all the requirements to benefit from preferential tariffs in countries like Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, Minh said.

These countries also have relatively similar import standards and consumer tastes, not to mention the lower transportation and logistics costs they offer thanks to their proximity.

It also opens new opportunities for trade with China in new categories such as communications, financial services, logistics, and e-commerce.

Nguyen Phuc Nguyen, general secretary of the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association, said the trade deal would further increase the country’s agricultural exports to China, already a major market.

The RCEP removes tariffs on at least 64 per cent of tariff lines.

In 15-20 years Viet Nam will abolish 89.6 per cent of tariff lines while its partner countries will remove 92 per cent of its tariffs.

Other ASEAN members will remove 85.9 per cent of all tariffs for Viet Nam.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, the general director of Vina T&T Company, said the RCEP was enabling talks on opening up export markets to more of the country’s agricultural products.

Commitments and trade facilitation measures under the deal are also expected to promote the growth of new supply chains, thus boosting international standard agricultural production in ASEAN.

However, experts also pointed to a host of challenges such as satisfying rules of origin and quality standards and competition from foreign rivals in both the domestic and foreign markets.

Tung said businesses should view free trade deals, including the RCEP, as a chance to improve their product quality, bolster supply chain management and promote competitiveness. 

Vietnamese airlines’ on-time performance hits 94.6 percent

Vietnamese airlines’ on-time performance (OTP) from January 19 to February reached 94.6 percent, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

Bamboo Airways recorded the highest rate of 96.7 percent, followed by Pacific Airlines (96.5 percent), Vietnam Airlines (96.3 percent), Vietravel Airlines (93.6 percent), Vasco (93.4 percent), and Viejet Air (91.7 percent).

Experts said the figures demonstrate the great efforts by the domestic airlines given the impact of new infections in the northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh ahead of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

During the period, the domestic airlines operated 20,944 flights, representing a month-on-month increase of 7.4 percent.

Vietjet Air conducted the highest number of flights among domestic carriers, with 7,881. It was followed by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines (6,725), Bamboo Airways (4,008), Jetstar Pacific (1,640), Vasco (518), and Vietravel Air (172).

Despite the impact of COVID-19, the Hanoi-HCM City route remained one of the world’s busiest domestic routes.

It is ranked second globally, with 1.085 million passengers in February, just behind the Jeju-Seoul Gimpo route in the Republic of Korea, according to a report released in February by OAG, a global travel data provider headquartered in the UK.

Ensuring the safety of flights, passengers, airport staff, and crew members remains the top priority of the airlines./.

Long An needs around 1.3 billion USD for transport infrastructure development

The Mekong Delta province of Long An will mobilise some 30 trillion VND (1.3 billion USD) to develop local transport infrastructure during 2021-2025, according to the provincial Department of Transport.

In the next five years, capital will be prioritised for three key transport projects and eight breakthrough projects under the Resolution adopted at the province’s 11th Party Congress. Of the total, over 18 trillion VND will be sourced from the central and local State budget, and nearly 12 trillion VND will be raised from other legal sources.

According to Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Transport Nguyen Hoai Trung, along with pushing construction of the belt road in Tan An city and DT830 road, the sector is sharpening focus on completing procedures for the building of several important transport projects such as DT 827E road worth 16.5 trillion VND, and DT 830E road worth over 3.3 trillion VND.

Upon completion, the projects are expected to connect local industrial parks and clusters in key economic zones with Long An International Port, Ho Chi Minh City and localities in vicinity, helping facilitate travel and transportation of goods of local people and enterprises./.

Vietnam lures 5.46 billion USD in foreign investment

As much as 5.46 billion USD worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) was injected into Vietnam as of February 20, equivalent to 84.4 percent of the figure recorded in the same time last year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

 

As many as 126 foreign projects were granted investment licences with total registered capital of 3.31 billion USD, a year-on-year fall of 33.9 percent.

Meanwhile, 115 existing projects adjusted their investment capital with a total additional sum of 1.61 billion USD, or 2.5 times higher than the same time last year.

Capital contributions and shares purchases by foreign investors stood at 543.1 million USD, down 34.4 percent.

Foreign investors pumped capital in 17 sectors, with processing and manufacturing holding the lead with over 3 billion USD or 55.7 percent, followed by power production and distribution with 1.44 billion USD (26.5 percent), real estate 485 million USD, and science-technology nearly 153 million USD.

Japan topped the list of 46 countries and territories landing investment in Vietnam, with 1.64 billion USD, equivalent to nearly 30 percent of the total. Singapore came second with 1.07 billion USD (19.6 percent), and the Republic of Korea third with 1.05 billion USD (19.3 percent).

The ministry said the southern province of Can Tho lured the lion’s share of FDI with 1.31 billion USD, accounting for 24.2 percent of the total. Hai Phong city was the runner-up since it attracted nearly 918 million USD, or 16.8 percent. Bac Giang came third with nearly 573 million USD (10.5 percent).

So far this year, the foreign-invested sector has earned 38.07 billion USD from exports, up 34 percent year-on-year, and making up 76.1 percent of the nation’s total export turnover. At the same time, it spent 31.6 billion USD on imports, up 31.2 percent year-on-year, and accounting for 66.6 percent of the country’s total import value. That resulted in a trade surplus of nearly 6.5 billion USD./.

Denmark prioritises supporting Vietnam in green energy development

Denmark prioritises helping Vietnam’s energy sector with green development and transformation, Danish Ambassador to Vietnam Kim Højlund Christensen affirmed on February 24.

He was speaking at an online signing ceremony of Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation in the supply of pile foundations and logistics ports for the La Gan offshore wind power project in the south central province of Binh Thuan.

Collaboration in projects like La Gan will contribute to expanding and enhancing cooperation between the two countries in sharing information, and improving the capacity of experts and employees, especially in the offshore wind power supply chain, the ambassador said.

The La Gan wind power project, with an estimated capacity of nearly 3.5 GW, is being developed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), Asiapetro and Novasia.

It is expected to generate electricity for over 7 million households each year.

According to the BVG Associates, the project will create over 45,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and contribute over 4.4 billion USD to the economy during the course of the project.

The total rate of locally-made components will account for about 45 percent of the supply chain of the project.

As the project will be carried out for many years, more opportunities will be given to Vietnamese contractors to join the supply chain.

Since the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the provincial People’s Committee in July 2020, the project has achieved significant progress, including preparing for a field survey and approving survey license.

With a total investment of 10 billion USD, it is also one of the first large-scale offshore wind power projects in Vietnam./.

Vietnam Airlines plans to spend big on Long Thanh International Airport

The Vietnam Airlines Corporation has said it is planning to invest nearly 10 trillion VND (434.78 million USD) in Long Thanh International Airport, which is now under construction in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Vietnam Airlines Chairman Dang Ngoc Hoa said that, in its development strategy for 2021-2030, the corporation and its member units will set aside resources to participate in the building and operation of infrastructure at the Long Thanh airport, providing full services in air transport for itself and other carriers.

Services include providing aviation fuel, ground technical services, meals, cargo terminal services, aviation logistics, waiting room services, and duty-free sales, which it has already been providing at many major airports via subsidiaries or affiliates.

Hoa said that 30 percent of the total investment in these services at the Long Thanh airport will come from Vietnam Airlines, with the remainder from loans.

The corporation and its members will directly invest in infrastructure construction or cooperate with the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) to set up joint stock or limited liability companies to carry out the work.

Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) Dinh Viet Thang said the proposal is reasonable since the services suggested are associated with transport services.

He noted, however, that the corporation will have to participate in the tender process.

The first phase of the Long Thanh International Airport, from 2020 to 2025, will receive over 109 trillion VND (4.66 billion USD) in investment and will feature one runway, one passenger terminal, and associated facilities capable of catering to 25 million passengers and handling 1.2 million tonnes of cargo annually./.

Japanese energy firm to hold 11 percent stake of Petrolimex

Japan’s ENEOS Corporation said it has registered to buy 25 million treasury stocks of the Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex). 

The purchase will be made from March 1-30 in the form of order matching on the stock market. 

It previously acquired 13 million treasury shares of Petrolimex, or a stake of 1 percent, from August 27 to September 14, 2020.

A representative said the JX Nippon Oil and Energy Vietnam Co. Ltd., an affiliate of the ENEOS Corporation, currently holds more than 103.5 million Petrolimex shares, equivalent to an 8 percent stake. 

Once this latest purchase is completed, the corporation will hold about 11 percent of Petrolimex. Meanwhile, Petrolimex still has 50 million treasury shares.

Earlier, Petrolimex announced it would divest the State holding to 51 percent during 2020 and 2021. 

Petrolimex earned consolidated revenue of 123 trillion VND (5.34 billion USD) last year, surpassing the plan by 1 percent. After-tax profit stood at 1.23 trillion VND, down 74 percent year-on-year. 

It was honoured by Forbes Vietnam last year as the biggest earner for the fourth consecutive year, one of the top 50 listed companies, and one of the 50 leading brands in Vietnam./.

Q1 GDP growth likely lower than target

Vietnam’s GDP growth in the first quarter of 2021 is forecast to come in at 4.46 percent; 0.66 percentage points below the target set in the Government’s Resolution No 01 in a scenario where the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled during the quarter.

Resolution No 01/NQ-CP on key measures to carry out the 2021 socio-economic development plan and State budget estimates outlines growth scenarios for each quarter and for each sector throughout the year.

The Government set a goal of posting growth of 6.5 percent and increasing workplace productivity by nearly 4.8 percent and health insurance participation to around 91 percent. The rate of multi-dimensionally poor households is expected to fall by 1-1.5 percent.

With the results in the first quarter, if the growth targets in the Resolution for subsequent quarters are reached, 2021’s GDP growth is estimated to come in at 6.37 percent; exceeding the 6 percent target set by the National Assembly but still lower than the target set in the Resolution.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said it is necessary to urgently implement the Resolution to achieve objectives in the socio-economic development plan in the 2021-2030 and 2021-2025 periods.

In a report submitted to the Government in January, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) proposed that priority be given to disease prevention and control in order to ensure the health of the citizenry and minimise the impact of the pandemic on the national economy.

It also proposed measures to promote economic growth through the “three-horse carriage” of investment, exports, and consumption.

The banking and finance sector continues to implement sensible fiscal and monetary policies to ensure macro-economic stability and stimulate economic growth, cut unnecessary expenses, especially regular spending, maintain a reasonable interest rate level and improve credit quality for priority areas, and strictly control credit in areas of potential risk.

Monetary and fiscal policies need to be assessed carefully towards developing support policies for those affected by COVID-19, especially services, tourism, and transport.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) is responsible for urgently building and implementing policies to stimulate domestic consumption, improve links between production and consumption in the supply chain, and promote the development of distribution networks associated with the “Vietnamese give priority to Vietnamese goods” campaign, to boost sustainable consumption demand.

It is also working to improve institutions and create favourable conditions for the development of e-commerce and e-payments as well as supporting export enterprises to expand markets through cross-border e-commerce.

Meanwhile, the MPI also proposed continued improvements to the quality of institutions, thus creating an open and favourable business and investment environment for enterprises.

Regarding the management, disbursement, and use of overseas development assistance (ODA), ministries, sectors, and localities must determine project priorities in association with ensuring reciprocal capital, and promote investment projects in the form of public-private partnerships, to attract investment capital from the private sector, especially for transport infrastructure projects.

Localities have been urged to focus on promoting international cooperation, diversifying import and export markets, taking full advantage of free trade agreements (FTA) Vietnam has signed, strengthening defence measures, and building early warning systems to protect domestic production and support businesses responding to trade defence lawsuits./.

Dong Thap develops close to 100 community-based tourism sites

Dong Thap province has developed nearly 100 community-based tourism sites to date and become the third-most attractive locality in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region.

Ngo Quang Tuyen, deputy director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said local people have built effective community-based tourism models that have caught the attention of tour operators and helped diversify local tourism products.

Such models have also contributed to increasing the added value of farm produce and creating jobs with stable incomes, he added.

Most of these 100 sites are located in the districts of Lai Vung, Tam Nong, and Thap Muoi, as well as in Cao Lanh and Sa Dec cities.

Deemed “The land of lotuses”, visitors to Dong Thap should not miss a visit to the lotus field eco-tourism site in Thap Muoi district. There were previously only five families providing tourism services at the site, but their number now counts in the dozens and an average of 10,000 visitors come to admire the fields every month. During peak tourism times, the number of visitors can exceed a thousand a day.

Meanwhile, Tam Nong district, which is famous for its Tram Chim National Park - a Ramsar wetlands site of international importance - is home to about 30 lodging facilities and two eco-tourism sites and welcomes approximately 100,000 holidaymakers annually.

The rich and diverse agriculture for which Dong Thap is known gives it advantages in terms of community-based tourism.

Local agro-tourism sites cover between 5,000 and 10,000 sq m on average and cater to up to 1,000 visitors a day. Total revenue in the 2016-2020 period stood at more than 43 billion VND (1.86 million USD)./.

Disbursement of FDI projects increases by 2% over two-month period

The disbursement of foreign direct investment (FDI) witnessed a positive annual increase of 2% to approximately US$2.5 billion during the first two months of the year, according to figures released by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

As of February 20, the total newly registered and adjusted capital and the value of capital contributions, and shares purchases made by foreign financiers reached US$5.46 billion, equivalent to 84.4% in comparison to the same period from last year.

February saw the country grant investment licenses to 126 new projects worth US$3.31 billion, a decline of 33.9% from the same period last year.

Most notably, a total of 115 existing projects registered to adjust their capital, marking a 2.5-fold increase compared to the corresponding period from last year, with total additional registered capital reaching US$1.61 billion.

Furthermore, the value of capital contributions and shares purchases by foreign investors dropped to US$543.1 million, a drop of 34.4 % compared to last year’s corresponding period.

Foreign financiers have invested in 17 local industries, of which the processing and manufacturing sectors took the lead with total investment capital reaching more than US$3billion, accounting for 55.7% of overall registered investment capital.

Moreover, electricity generation and distribution ranked second with total investment capital of US$1.44 billion, making up 26.5% of total registered investment capital, followed by real estate, along with science and technology.

Japan tops the list of the 46 countries and territories currently investing in the nation with total investment capital of US$1.64 billion, holding approximately 30% of the country’s FDI, trailed by Singapore, the Republic of Korea, China, Hong Kong (China), and the United States.

Can Tho represents the most attractive location among 43 provinces and cities after receiving US$1.31 billion in FDI, constituting for 24.1% of the overall, followed by Hai Phong, Bac Giang, Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Coffee industry seeks to weather COVID-19 crisis

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, local coffee firms have devised a long-term strategic vision, changed their business mindset, and invested in processing technology in an effort to increase the added value of coffee beans.

Since Vietnam joined the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the coffee industry has experienced three crises, with the first occurring in 1991 when the ICO removed the quota system, causing the price of Arabica coffee to drop from US$4,000 per tonne to US$3,000 per tonne.

The second happened in 2000 when the price of Robusta coffee dropped to US$400 per tonne, and the third took place last year when the price fell by between US$1,300 and US$1,400.

Addressing this thorny issue, almost all coffee businesses have participated in e-commerce trading platforms, marketing the products in London and New York. Private firms have also moved to swiftly set up websites in order to sell their coffee products online, with on-demand home delivery services witnessing rapid growth.

Aside from serving customers at coffee shops, take-away services have also been added to allow customers to increase the efficiency of doing business whilst simultaneously ensuring COVID-19 preventive measures are in place.

Several businesses have also invested in processing roasted, ground, and instant coffee as a means of catering to consumers’ diverse tastes. They have taken advantage of opportunities in exporting coffee beans to markets that the country has signed free trade agreements with.

Besides foreign firms such as Nestle, Olam, Ca phe Ngon, and Tata, several Vietnamese enterprises including Tin Nghia Corporation, Intimex Group, An Thai Company, and Viet My Company have poured capital into intensive processing by building instant coffee factories with popular names.

Most notably, small roasting facilities that specialise in processing specialty coffee for a chain of between 10 and 20 coffee shops by using coffee machines have also witnessed rapid growth.

Furthermore, Trung Nguyen Legend has recently launched its official brand store on Amazon, marking an important step toward bringing local coffee to the world via e-commerce platforms.

With regards to this strategic move, a representative of Trung Nguyen Legend says despite initial encouraging results, there remains a long journey ahead for the group as it attempts to popularize its brand globally, adding that e-commerce channels will develop further in line with consumer trends.

Despite an array of challenges facing the global economy caused by COVID-19, the coffee industry aims to expand markets, participate in supermarket chains in foreign countries to distribute processed coffee, and accelerate the sale of coffee through the e-commerce system.

The industry will boost consumption of coffee products within the domestic market and maintain its position as the world’s second largest coffee producer and exporter, whilst increasing the added value of coffee beans and stabilising the lives of 640,000 coffee growing households nationwide.

Binh Duong firms face recruitment difficulties

Many firms in Binh Duong Province are facing difficulties in finding workers after the Tet Holiday.

It's estimated that 611 firms in Binh Duong need nearly 71,300 employees, 20,000 more than last year. Over 85% of the firms with trade unions have resumed work and 716,000 out of 774,000 employees have returned to work.

Firms at VSIP Industrial Park want to recruit 20,000 new employees and firms at Ben Cat Industrial Park are in need of 10,000 employees. Dozens of firms have contacted the Labour Confederation of Binh Duong and communal authorities to ask for help.

Firms in major cities like Di An, Thuan An and Thu Dau Mot cities can find new employees more easily while it's a struggle for firms in remote areas like Bac Tan Uyen or Bau Bang districts. Firms in Binh Duong also face tough competition with firms in nearby cities and provinces. The average wages and bonuses in Binh Duong are considered lower than in HCM City and Dong Nai Province. Moreover, many people still don't want to go to work yet due to the ongoing outbreak.

Nguyen Hai Dinh from Son La Province said, "I have done some research and realised that the minimum wages are basically the same in all companies so the question is which one has better treatment and bonuses. This is the first time I go to Binh Duong to work so I'm in the dark."

Binh Duong Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has asked the Employment Service Centre to provide more information both offline and online, contact provinces with a labour source and consult firms about better wages and bonuses to attract employees.

Vocational schools, colleges and universities were asked to help with job introduction. Meanwhile, firms were asked to send HR employees to go find new employees in other regions with the trade unions or ask their own employees to introduce new people.

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes